Business: The week ahead

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The Independent Online


Ivory & Sime kicks off the week. The Edinburgh investment management group stunned analysts earlier this year when it revealed funds under management had slumped from pounds 3.7b to pounds 3.1bn in just six months.

The company blamed its problems on portfolio reshuffling by US funds, the loss of Lloyd's syndicate investments and the fall in emerging Far Eastern markets. Observers will be keen to learn whether it has been able to recoup some of the business lost. Although the picture will have been improved by the subsequent acquisition of Clan Asset Management from 30 per cent shareholder Caledonia Investments, half-way profits are expected to have fallen. Tony Cummings at SBC Warburg is going for pounds 2.86m, down from pounds 3.1m, although he is looking for the interim dividend to be raised to 2.3p from 2.25p.

Interims: Brasway, British Thornton, Crest Packaging, Edinburgh Japan Trust, Foreign & Colonial Smaller, Ingham, I&S Optimum Income, Ivory & Sime, Jones & Shipman, Lawrence, Moorgate Inv Trust, Mosaic Inv, Rolfe & Nolan, Schroder Split Fund, Victoria Carpet, Wintrust

Finals: Aberdeen Trust, Fairbairn European Smaller, Kunick

AGMs: Benchmark Group, Bridport-Gundry, F&C Special Utilities, Ferraris Group, Ivory & Sime Enterprise, Kleinwort Second Endowment, Kleinwort Second Development, Murray Split Capital, Nursing Home Properties, Raine, TR Far East Inv Trust

EGMs: Amberley Group, Regent Corp, Ugland Int'l


The Public Sector Borrowing Requirement is expected to be pounds 2.8bn in November, following a repayment of pounds 1.3bn in October on the back of heavy corporate tax payments. The City will be watching closely to see if the deficit is now on track to meet the new higher forecast of pounds 29bn for 1995/6 set out by the Treasury in the budget.



Opinions are divided as to why the Howden engineering group has brought forward its interim results from January. The share price has fallen from 93p to 67p in four months and one view is that this has prompted the company to make an early statement to allay concerns about current trading. It is, after all, barely five years since Howden was hammered by a near-disastrous contract on Denmark's Store Baelt tunnelling project. Others believe that Howden is merely getting its interim results out of the way before Christmas. Either way, analysts expect pressure on margins to have continued, delaying the company's plan to reach a 10 per cent return on sales.

The market will also be watching out to see if the recent impressive performance at keeping orders ahead of sales has been maintained. Forecasts are for profits of pounds 11m to pounds 11.5m in the six months to October, up from pounds 10.6m before.

Interims: CH Bailey, Compco Holdings, Henderson Highland Trust (Q3), Howden Group, Murray Smaller Markets, Radiant Metal, Templeton Emerging Markets

Finals: Eurotherm, First Choice Holidays, Windsor

AGMs: British Assets Trust, Finsbury Growth Trust, Foreign & Colonial Eurotrust, Majedie Inv, Moran Holdings, Scottish Value Trust, UK Estates

EGMs: Horace Clarkson, Ockham Holdings


In the US, the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meets to decide interest rates. Earlier in the year, the Fed indicated that a deal on the budget would pave the way to further cut in rates following the quarter point reduction in July. Wall Street speculates that the gathering weakness in the economy may lead the FOMC to cut rates even though a budget deal has been postponed until the New Year.

The OECD issues its projections for the industrialised world for the next two years, cutting its forecast for growth in 1996 from the 2.7 per cent expected in June.



Interims: Abtrust Preferred, Artesian Estates, Electric & General IT, M&G Second Dual Trust, Murray Split Capital

Finals: Legal & General Recovery, Loades, Rodime

AGMs: Echlin Inc, Foreign & Colonial Emerging

EGMs: RTZ, Wattachak


Provisional figures for broad money, M4, are expected to show it expanding by 0.5 per cent in November, bringing the annual rate of growth down from the 8.7 per cent chalked up in October. The Chancellor cited the current pace of expansion as a reason for cutting interest rates by a quarter rather than half a per cent, so the markets will be looking keenly to see if it has peaked.

The trade deficit with countries outside the EU is expected to improve to pounds 950m from the record 1.2bn deficit in October.



Interims: Winchester Multimedia

Finals: Abtrust Emerging Econ IT, Burndene Invs, St David's Inv Trust

AGMs: Broadgate Inv Trust, Edinburgh Inca Trust, OEM

EGMs: Atreus, Crabtree Group, Hermargi Land & Development, Molyneux Estates, Racal


Final figures for the economy's performance in the third quarter released. The market is not expecting further revision to the growth of 0.4 per cent shown in the last estimates.

The current account balance is expected to narrow from pounds 2.4bn in the second quarter to pounds 1.9bn, thanks to an improvement in invisibles.

The US Bureau of Economic Analysis issues personal income and consumption figures for October and November. Markets expect declines from September's 5.7 per cent and 5.3 per cent rates.



Finals: Kelsey Industries

AGMs: Ex-Lands

EGMs: Ex-Lands, Robert H Lowe, World Fluids (Hldgs)